Perfection in Suffering

“When [Christ] was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” When we look at Christ crucified, my brothers and sisters, perfection is not usually what comes to mind. Tragedy, sorrow, suffering, guilt – these are the thoughts and emotions that normally occur to believers when we see Christ crucified – not perfection.

Indeed, without a Christian worldview, suffering is a tragedy, and nothing more. But Christ’s death transforms suffering. Now, we see Him made perfect – not in the manger, or teaching in the Temple or the Galilean countryside, but on the Cross – perfect in obedience and reverence. Thanks to this perfection that Christ has achieved on the Cross, the letter to the Hebrews tells us that we should, “confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.” Christ’s cross is the throne of grace, the throne from which He reigns victorious over sin and death to share the mercy and salvation of our God with us.

This is why we will venerate Christ’s cross today. When we come forward to venerate Christ’s cross, we venerate Him in His perfection: the perfection of His obedience to the will of the Father, the perfection of His sacrifice, the perfection of His love.

The veneration that we will make of His cross today is a symbol of our devotion – lovingly kissing His hands or His feet, in loving adoration of His saving wounds. Our veneration must not end there, though. By venerating Christ’s Cross, we ask that the Lord that we too might be made perfect as we approach the throne of grace: perfect in our obedience, perfect in our reverence, perfect in our own willingness to suffer as He did for our brothers and sisters, and for the salvation of the world.

The Rev. Royce V. Gregerson
Parish Church of St. Charles Borromeo, Fort Wayne
Solemn Commemoration of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ